Saturday, March 04, 2006

Researching Buzzkills

How much do journalists follow the news?  I’m not just talking about the stories they’re working on, but for all of the news.  Like what we do.  I’m a news junkie and I read the stuff morning, noon, and night.  I can’t get enough.  The only bad news is no news.  I’m scouring Yahoo News, bopping around to a few select blogsites; at least Talking Points and Atrios.  And it’s like that all day long.  Then I can scour the most popular Science and Health stories in Yahoo.  And you can’t forget your Weird News.  The internet is my news oyster.

And that’s what I do every day.  But is that what journalists do too?  Can they possibly be receiving as much news as what I’m getting?  I don’t see how.  I work from home and can do this shit whenever I like.  But journalists have to be out and about.  They’ve got to be on the phone, or down by the courthouse.  Or down at the bar sharing gossip.  Or some other time consuming thing that journalists do.  And that’s really got to eat into their news reading time.   So there’s no way that the typical journalist is more informed than I am.

And especially not the Bighead Commentary guys.  Bill O’Reilly can’t be getting too much news with his head so far up his ass like that.  And I wonder if William F. Buckley even has the internet.  Even a king talking-head like Ted Koppel never had the news reading capacity I’ve got.  Even if he wanted to, he couldn’t; and he probably doesn’t want to.  And forget about the 24-hour cable anchors.  There’s no way that they read as much news as I do.  How can they?  They’re on TV talking about the news all the time.  How can they find time to actually read any?  

So is it any wonder that they’re so ill-informed?  We blast them for relying on Conventional Wisdom and dictation, but that’s really all they have time for.  Assuming that they wanted to have lives, anyway.  For the most part, they have to go with what they’re told, and don’t have time for the “research” necessary to connect all the dots.  Besides, the whole point of being a journalist is to avoid that whole “research” thing.  It’s much easier to write down what other people say than it is to find out if they’re right.  There’s no stronger buzzkill than the facts.

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